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Housing for Separated Fathers

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 16 Mar 2023 | comments*Discuss
Separated Dads Housing Rent Buy Mortgage

With separation, housing becomes an urgent and thorny issue. You might well own your current house with your partner, but what happens to that when you split up, and especially the money you have tied up in it? Even if you’re renting, there are issues that need to be faced. As for where you go, what’s the best path to take, renting or buying another property?

Your Current House

If you’ve been renting the house in your name and you’re moving out, both you and your ex should be aware that there’s no automatic transfer of lease to her. You’ll need to talk to the landlord and make new arrangements. You’ll also want your deposit back, since the amount will be very useful when renting a new place.

If you own the home, the two of you will need to make arrangements for your property. If it’s owned jointly, as most are, you have two choices. If one of you intends to remain in the house, that person will have to buy out the other. You can also decide to sell the house and split the money. If your partner is buying you out, make sure the arrangements aren’t just private, but registered through the building society, so you’re formally released from the mortgage. If not, then legally the property will still be classed as partly yours, and if your ex defaults on the mortgage, it can adversely ruin your credit rating.

To Buy or Rent?

When you leave, you can either buy a new house or rent. Rental has many attractions in the short term, as you decide what you want to do and where you want to live. Be aware that most rentals are on renewable short-term six month leases. You’ll initially pay the first month’s rent plus a deposit (usually equal to a month’s rent) which can be refunded when you leave, as long as the property is in good condition.

You might consider renting with a friend, but make sure both your names are on the lease, otherwise, if the other person is named as the renter and moves out, you might find yourself homeless.

If you decide to buy, you’ll almost certainly have to downsize, since you’ll be relying on just your income rather than that of a couple. But with most homebuyers needing at least a 20% deposit, this may not be an option for you unless you have a large lump sum.

Before you look at any property, make a checklist of what you need. Apart from the basics, each of your children should have their own bedroom (budget and the number of children might not make this possible), and there should be a garden where your kids can play. (See our article What You Need in the House for Your Child on this site.) If you buy, even if it’s just a small property, it puts you back on the property ladder, and if you can make a good down payment, your monthly mortgage might be less than rent.

Choosing your Location

The other question is where you should live. There are distinct advantages in staying close to your former home, since it makes contact with your children much easier. However, some separated fathers prefer to move away. This can be due to a job, the desire to make a clean break, or cheaper housing prices in another part of the country. There are pluses and minuses to both that you need to weight for yourself.

When You Move

Regardless of where you move, when you do switch addresses there are some things you need to do. Before you transport everything to your new place, go through items – do you need or even want them? Moving is always a good opportunity for a clearout.

You’ll also need to inform people about your change of address. That’s not only friends but organisations such as banks, building societies, the Inland Revenue, credit card companies, DVLA, insurance companies and your GP etc. This will ensure that important items of mail follow you to your new home.

Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.

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Hoping someone has got some advice, I’m at my wits end. I have 2 children with my ex. My ex kicked me out the family home 9 months ago and since then I have been sleeping on my mothers sofa. We own our house, I own the higher percentage. I have been paying the mortgage since I left. My ex is refusing mediation and wants me to take her to court to sort the house out. She refuses to work and believes I should pay for the house until she can ‘find someone else to take over the mortgage’! 1 - she has never contributed to the bills or mortgage in all our time together as she still doesn’t work. 2 - it was my money that bought the house. I’m sleeping on a sofa while she lives in a £400k house that I pay for!! I would never see my children homeless and would give her a bigger % of the sale money for her to buy another property. every time I pick the kids up for my weekends she shouts about daddy taking the house away from them and making them live in a flat with no garden. It’s traumatising the children and killing me to see them so upset. I work 16 hour days to keep a roof over everyone’s head at the momentand can’t see a way out. Our mortgage is up for renewal at the end of the year and with the interest rates as they are I cannot afford to pay for their house and support myself. She’s also changed the locks to my house. The solicitors are also no help. Just demanding more money for not a lot of output. Please, someone give me some advice. I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel and I don’t know what to do.
RFB - 16-Mar-23 @ 9:46 AM
I am sorry to say that but the UK doesn't care about kids In this situation because if you don't provide a place for a father to receive their kids, the father will have to share a place with a stranger. Mentally kids are affected by the separation but living with strangers will also affect the kids. Also, poor dads as most of them leave the house to help the kids and the mums but put themselves in a critical situation. They start from the beginning and have no support from housing and council. It's really sad to see this in Uk.
PsyfromFrance - 31-Jul-22 @ 10:54 PM
Stop posting (seriously ),I will not react to your nonsense,( I never want to be with you or ever see you again in my lifetime )for the record I honestly dont care if you change your daughters name seriously. I will not be( manipulated or mistreated bye you ever again) .in all honesty I dont want see your daughter not now or ever .(I hated my life when I was with you thats gods truth) .I'm no kid anymore you and daughter sever no purpose in my life what so ever (I dont even class myself as her father) .so stop wasting your time with these( silly blogs get a grip off your life) .you want a men go back to Gordon seriously( I personally don't know what he saw in you) .you want truth im ashamed off myself for ever been with you and I'm ashamed off your daughter aswell get this though your think head I have zero feelings towards your daughter ( so don't even bother trying to manipulate me because you will fall short because in reality I dont care ).my advice get on with your lifes you both want to change your daughters name do it you have my blessing .you can say whatever you want about me I dont care in fact I find it funny .one thing I worked out you never had a clue who I really was as a person I see you trying to fill in the blanks ha ha ha your a (dead set loser) and im so happy I never have to see or associate with you ever again and that makes me happy inside .you should worry about your own life not mine .so stop posting and go change your daughters name and be a happy family.
Sam - 22-Apr-22 @ 8:35 PM
Same boat as everyone else here. 31 live with my parents due to unaffordable rent prices. I have a 3 year old daughter. I've tried the council but they don't want to know. Even when I was living in the car or sofa surfing they just didn't care. Its because I have a full time job but live pay day to pay day. It's ruiningmy life. Sometimes I think about just ending it then I see my daughters face
Tom - 22-Apr-22 @ 11:13 AM
I am separated from my partner but have 50/50 custody of the 2 children, can I apply for social housing ?
Rando - 26-Apr-21 @ 4:17 PM
Hi Scott I'm Kerry and I may be a woman but I do believe that the housing and benefits system is very much focused on the mothers I find it very disappointing in this day and age I might be able to forward some information on to you with some companies that might be able to help I've only just stumbled across this page because I'm looking as my son is in same situation and has a little boy who he shares half of the week with his ex and she's housed and he's not but then they can stop him seeing his child if he doesn't get a roof over his head surly that would make there situation the same it wrongand I am female and I find it very disappointing that mother's out there do not reach out and say ok you want to see your children I'll go and stay tonight at a friend's house my boyfriend has two children that he sees as often as possible and I wouldn't dream of ever stopping that I love them like they're mine and I know that I would feel differently about him if he had not bothered with his children that wouldnd be the character of man I would want to be with so I do believe that women out there do need to give people a bit of a break especially to there children dad it's no different from the way they see there own dad,! my experience itsmaintenance look after your kid at the weekends which you have to pay for yourself when your looking after them when you have them to feed them but also pay the mum when she's gone in my world that don't work the way I see it whoever has that child at that point if one's got the stuff they need they give it to them if the other one's got the stuff they need they give it to them because at the end of the day is your children isn't it I don't mean that directed at you as in like you're not doing what they're supposed to be I just feel like you're in a really unfair situation because what if she just decided she wants any house mates CBR check or they can't be around the kids you can't win anyway if you would like to chat, have a look at different ideas I would like to trying to help.as I'm unable to work I try and help in any way I can. you can find me on Facebook Kerry whybrow if you want to bat ideas about or you just want to have a rant sometimes we all need a little support hope to hear from you soon take care
Kezz - 17-Mar-21 @ 8:29 PM
I am a father of 3 separated from my wife for 2 years now. I am currently renting a bedroom in a two bedroom house with live in landlord. I have shared custody of my children but can only have them to stay overnight when my landlord is working away which is not very often now as he is in a new relationship and wants her to move in meaning that I have to move on. The local council won’t help me as I work full time although I’m on low income and can’t afford the rental prices where I live. I’m looking for some advice as to where I can get some help with housing. I’m desperate to have my children stay with me
Scott - 9-Mar-21 @ 6:36 PM
My ex wife left me to live with someone else two years ago and claim child tax credits and works,also council helps pay for her rent. She also lives with new partner and he works on and off for agency work but when not working claims separately. but when i asked for help with child tax credits from HMRC they said if my ex wife does not want to let me have any they can't force her even though I have my children with me four to five days a week. On top of that because I work on and off for agency work and then live on universal credit I have fallen behind on my mortgage the mortgage company are now threatening to take my home from me but can't seem to get help from anyone council can't helptax credits can't help and soon I could be homeless because my ex is down as sole custody of the children trying to explain to authorities that they stay with me more they told me that did not matter to them and it's upto me to sort it out myself. For men like me and millions of other men like me the Goverment and councils just don't care. Just would like to know if anyone out there could give me some advice please as the Goverment and other authorities just don't care unless your a woman or druggie or alcoholic.
Neddy - 6-Feb-21 @ 9:49 PM
I am a farther of 4 I live at my mothers house and there is no room to have them over to stay , I’ve tried to rent but got refused because of a cc’j from years ago, not only that were I live the cheapest house to rent with room for my kids is too much money
Gaz - 7-Jan-21 @ 1:19 AM
Hi all I am a single father who has my 9 year old son Tuesday's Thursdays for evening and every other weekend for overnight stays. Since I split from the ex I have lived at my parents on the sofa. This is very difficult when son comes over to stay. Can I ask would I get help with a place of my own as work full time hours a week and Still can't see how I can afford to rent a place with rates these days.The ex is loving life in a 3 bed house and I'm Struggling to find a good night's kip each night. Really beginning to take its toll on me. Any help or advice would be muchly appreciated ??
Mitch - 5-Jan-21 @ 5:52 PM
Hi, been in an unhappy relationship for some time now and I have a 3 year old and a 4 month old. I’ve tried so hard to stick it out for the benefit of the kids but I just don’t think it’s fair on the kids anymore to see their mum and dad arguing, I work full time but if I leave the home I will have nowhere to go. I’d ideally like to get another place so I can have the kids my fair share of the week but can’t seem to find any information about if I’d be eligible for help via the council?
Ash - 11-Dec-20 @ 10:12 PM
I am with my partner just for the kids and it’s now getting too much I have a son 3 years old and a baby step son 8 years , I need to move out I will have the kids more than 3 nights a week living in Scotland , I’ve always been privet rent would the council house me ??
Redbullalldaylong - 10-Dec-20 @ 7:43 AM
Hi there , I've just be asked to move out of the family home but both me and my ex are on the mortgage,she will continue to pay it but does having my name on it cause any issues
shirt - 3-Dec-20 @ 2:34 PM
Hi I am self employed and I have my son 3to4 nights a week and rent with a private landlord is it possible to get help with rent and council tax
S1 - 15-Nov-20 @ 1:41 PM
Hi, I'm a father of 4 children aged 18-8.my current situation is that my ex partner cannot afford to buy me out. But I'm now with a new partner who id like to get a mortgage with.only problem is I am still on the old mortgage. And cannot get another due to our credit rating any advice would be great. Dave
Bart - 27-Oct-20 @ 8:44 PM
Hi, I’ve split up with my parter last October, we have 11 years old daughter together. As a PhD student and part-time employee I’m renting 2 rooms (one for myself and one for my daughter when she coming over for a weekends) in a shared house (3 friends leaving with me). I’ve tenancy until June 2021, and I’ll be able to look for the place on my own after that date. Yet, my ex after sever bad decisions, lack in communication and neglect, make me worry about wellbeing of our child. Is it possible to have full custody for a child when leaving in shared house? Thanks, Luke
Luke - 23-Aug-20 @ 4:57 PM
Hi all I'm a single dad and I have a 9 year old son who I get to have 3 to 4 days a week.one whole day and 2 to 3 overnight only...I live in a studio flat which is nice but not much room did house share before for 5 years but my son could not get on well with the person I was living with things just are getting worse with this living situation.i just want to know what my chances are of getting a place with the council for a single dad
Lee - 21-Aug-20 @ 9:00 AM
I have been married 17 years. We split 3 years ago and I have been awarded sole custody of the 2 boys aged 17 and 13. The mother is not allowed to see them due to her behaviour as stated by the court. I am going through financials in divorce and her solicitor is asking for a 50 / 50 split if equity even though she has not paid a penny to the mortgage since she left. She has not brought any birthday or Xmas presents and is paying £29 month maintenance. She is a self employed barber and has been under declaring for 17 years and I have informed HMRC and given them paperwork. I need help as I don’t believe she should have a 50% share if the house.
Jase - 12-Aug-20 @ 3:50 PM
@den.are you working ?.if you are just keep couch surfing for a bitsave your money up get a flat or house .tell your ex your situation and say I be more then happy to have the child though the day on weekends why I save up for my own place .spending the days at the park with your daughter will motivate you to save more money so you and your daughter have your own place and own yard to play in .
Christopher - 2-Aug-20 @ 4:27 PM
Hi, I’ve recently split with my gf who I’ve been living with for 5 years we have a 2 year old and is demanding I have her overnight ever other weekend problem is that I am sofa surfing and have no where for her to stay. Anyone have any options or advice? Thanks
Den - 2-Aug-20 @ 10:04 AM
I need urgent advice,I'm in an unhappy marriage,I have 6 kids and need to get out and start again for their sake.the arguments are very frequent.and usually contain commands to get out.i need to leave,but need some sort of accommodation.thankyou for any help.
Friendo - 25-Jul-20 @ 12:59 AM
My son lives council flat 2 bed with both his children mother vwalked out 2 years ago since keeps just coming walks back in says can stay coz her name on tenancy what l need to now is my son claims himself 2 kids rent which he doesn't get it all coz she still on tenancy we as family help him out rest of rent can plz some one tell me as a man with 2 kids on his own why can or is she able to just walk in when feels like it if he was a woman think he have more on his side she was man people was damn him for just walking in wen ever feels like walks outparty or mate needs her not that kids need her no my son thinks she take the flat and kids too coz she's a woman anyone now true rules single dad full time single dad 2 and 4 year old thank you
Di - 12-Jul-20 @ 10:29 PM
Split with my girlfriend & my ex is now saying I cant have my kids as now got no where to have them. (We were having them every other wkend) Will I get help with a flat or something as one of my kids wants to live with me
Anon - 29-Jun-20 @ 1:09 PM
Single male living in my Vauxhall Corsa. Have my daughter 3 times a week and stay in hotel when able to to spend time with my daughter. Wanting any available accomodation in eccington or surrounding area close to my daughter who lives at killamarah. I'm finding it hard and depressing and would be so appreciative of any little help what so ever please.
Liam - 19-Jun-20 @ 6:33 PM
I’m asking on behalf of my boyfriend who has an 8 year old son. My boyfriend lives in a house share where he has lived for almost 9 months & he sees his son every weekend. At first the sons mother said she didn’t want their son staying in the house share, as there was strangers there, which at first I understood to some extent. So my boyfriend was having his son at the house during the day & then taking him to his mothers at night, then picking him up again the next day. This is really sad for both my boyfriend and his son as of course he wants to stay with his dad at night. So I wondered what people’s thoughts were? Should his son be allowed to stay with him or not?
Lou - 15-May-20 @ 8:14 PM
Hi everyone. I’ve recently become a single Dad and I have 4 children 3 boys and a baby girl. I was renting with my girlfriend and I was lucky enough that the landlord took me off the tenancy. I can’t possibly afford a 3 bed house minimum to privately rent on my own and I applied online with my local council and they have said I’m no eligible. I’m currently back living with my parents and I can’t accommodate my children to stay there as there is no room. Has anyone got any advice for me please.
Steve - 1-May-20 @ 4:28 AM
Hi, is there any network in place for single dads that are co-parenting? I have separated from my partner whom I share custody of a 2yo. I've managed to find my own place, but as a student, I simply cannot afford it. I've contacted several local estate agents and they have all told me that I can't live in a house share if I was to have my child stay with me. Not seeing her or doing my part is not an option, but I cannot continue to live in the housing situation that I am in now. I am eligible for universal credit, but it's not enough to live on so I have to work, and because I work, they take 63p off me for every £1 that I earn, so in the end, I get nothing from them. I can't physically work more because I am at college or have my daughter. Any suggestions to help me move forward would be much appreciated.
Benjamin - 18-Apr-20 @ 3:01 PM
I'm also currently unemployed and trying to find something from Monday to Wednesday as I have my daughter for the rest of the week . I've been told that there are procedures to be followed via citizens advice in order to get help with housing from the council z
Bennyboy - 11-Mar-20 @ 5:25 PM
Hi I've recently split with my gf who I stayed with and we have a 3 year old daughter . Since moving from hers I'm on the sofa at my parents as there is no room I also have my little girl every week from Thursday to Sunday . Will the council help home me as I need some where safe to have my daughter ?
Bennyboy - 11-Mar-20 @ 5:23 PM
Hi there I have recently separated from my wife and I need to have my son 2 nights aweek. I currently rent a room but am not allowed to bring my son as is the case in most rented bedrooms. I just cant afford a flat by myself.just wanted to know what other options there are or if any one had some good advise.
Matt - 8-Mar-20 @ 8:27 PM
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